Ah, the dreaded CV – vital to landing any job and such a pain to create! With so many resumes dropping onto an employer's desk each week, it's important that yours stands out. It doesn't have to be the brightest colour or look like a masterpiece but it should be clear, succinct and presented neatly.
The main trouble is what to put down when you haven't got any relevant work experience yet. Have no fear! Here are some tips on how to create a CV out of nothing.
Start at the very beginningThe best way to begin is by writing a short summary, 3-4 sentences, that describe who you are and what you can bring to the company. If you have the right qualifications for the role, then you're already in a good position (eg. having a Business degree and applying for a Graduate Business scheme).
Your profile should detail your level of education and describe all your relevant skills and knowledge. The main thing is to ensure that everything is concise. Your Cover Letter is where you expand on your passion for a specific area and any past experiences. Recruiters are looking for information that is applicable for the job at hand. So remember, less is more!
If this is your first time embarking on the job hunt then begin by deciding on what type of jobs you want to apply for. Search through plenty of relevant adverts and make a list of requirements that keep popping up. When that's done, research your target employers in order to identify what qualities they value in an employee. The key to getting interviews is to match up your CV (skills and experience) with the job description.
For the CV's design, it's helpful to try something slightly unique. Instead of the standard layout, perhaps check out some alternatives. Just make sure that everything is organized so that it's easy for the recruiter to find relevant information as quickly as possible.
Be honest about your skillsEmployers know that you aren't gifted with an abundance of skills and expertise straight out of uni, so talk about your assets sensibly. Make a list of your top five skills with examples where you have demonstrated them.
For example, if you have listed good organizational skills then talk about a charity event you arranged. You're willing to take on extra responsibilities? Mention that time you helped co-ordinate any events or contributed to any societies at uni. It's important to try and draw connections between the job you're applying for with any activities you engaged in during your education.
If you think hard enough, you'll find skills that you've shown somewhere. Just make sure that they're listed in bullet points so that it's easier for the employer!
List your experiencesThis section may seem a little like a catch-22: how can I list experiences when I have none? Don't fret!
Link the job you're applying for with any coursework or events you engaged in throughout college. Nicole Williams, a Connection Director at LinkedIn, says that "college grads that are able to articulate their college experiences in terms of tangible work and skill development experiences will be head and shoulders ahead of the game."
Highlight any volunteer work you may have done at uni and if you haven't then now is the perfect time! LinkedIn found that 1 in 5 hiring managers consider volunteer work a valuable asset. It proves that you hold initiative whilst also bulking up your skills.
Volunteering isn't just about providing services to individuals through charities, it can also be relevant to your area of expertise. If you want experience accounting, see if any local nonprofit agencies would let you help their accounting staff.
So make sure, ultimately, that your CV matches the job description. Get a good template for your CV and emphasize your skills as much as possible, especially if you have little experience. Good luck!
Image credit: Brandi Redd